Darren & Joshua “fleur de lis” inspired wedding @airship37
Your wedding was unique and stunning!
What were your references and inspiration that guided the theme and decor choices you made?
When we started planning, we decided to create a wedding that showcased both of our backgrounds and really spoke to our story. With my husband being from Louisiana and myself being French-Canadian, our common thread was the fleur de lis. This was prevalent throughout our wedding (e.g. on our invitations, decor, desserts, etc.).We decided to make the outside space a Bayou and Bourbon St. (Louisiana), the inside space a Cirque du Soleil atmosphere (French-Canadian) and the bathrooms into hunting lodges (hunting/fishing being common to both our cultures as well).
The theme was present not only in decor but also in the food, drinks, entertainment and even in the wedding favours. In May, we made a trip to Louisiana in order for me to meet my husband’s side of the family, as well as for inspiration. We shipped some amazing pieces of decor back for the wedding and got some great ideas for food, drinks and music!
Your wedding created a really immersive environment like entering a set to a movie. Were you thinking along these lines when you designed your wedding?
Definitely! We wanted to immerse our guests in a themed party that was great not only for multiple photo opportunities, but would also let the guests explore and be entertained.
The goal was to create beautiful environments that allowed interaction and mingling, as well as play host to a night they would never forget.
We also created a wedding hashtag for Instagram so our guests could create an instant photo album that everyone inside or outside the event could access.
The space Airship37 leaves a lot of room for a creative person to shape their event… as it is a very wide open venue. What drew you to Airship37?
Exactly what you said… The space is almost a blank canvas! I had worked with the venue before through my job and knew they had amazing client support, food and staffing. The size of the space was ideal and the venue fee also fell within our budget. When we made our first site visit, we allowed the existing pieces in the space (the chandelier, the airstream trailers) to help steer us in the direction of theming we ultimately chose, as we drew commonalities between the pieces and our personal backgrounds. We focused our plan further from there. After some thought and solidification of a specific idea, we were able to create the exact atmosphere we wanted for our day.
What did the schedule look like for hitting all the deadlines to have your wedding ready?
We started planning (and saving) for our wedding a little over a year in advance. At this time we also discussed theme, built our budget and secured our venue.
At 9 months we were working out our entertainment, menus, floor plans, host hotel, starting to stock pile decor, etc.
At 8 months we sent out our invitations and had a final RSVP deadline exactly 3 months to the day.
At 6 months, we secured our AV and lighting, rented decor (trees, lampposts, etc.), hotel shuttles, etc.
At 2 to 3 months out, we were finalizing everything, creating event scenarios and making sure we weren`t forgetting any items.
We had secured and confirmed all aspects of our wedding one month before.
Needless to say, we were prepared!
When the day actually arrived what were you and your husband most pleased with that you had accomplished in your design of the event?
The “big top” ceiling fixture in the Gooderham Lounge and the overall “bayou backyard” look in the outside space. It was stunning! I love to dream when it comes to my event designs and it was amazing to see our concepts come to life at Airship37.
What advice would you give a couple when considering a more creative venue such as Airship37 for their wedding or reception?
· Know the room capacities and how much space you need. You don’t want an empty looking room.
· With a build-out venue, budget extra for decor so that the quantity of pieces brought in is an adequate amount for the size of the space.
· Create checklists and a critical path to make sure you are on track and nothing is forgotten!
· Dream big and think outside the box of a traditional wedding. The space is made for you to be creative!
What were your list of priorities in your budget? In other words what was the most important element for you – florals, food, detailed decor?
Our biggest budget priorities were:
Audio/Video and lighting, detailed decor, food and beverage (including alcohol) and entertainment
What was your biggest challenge when planning and executing your wedding?
Our biggest challenge was narrowing down the guest list. We decided early on to do a small intimate wedding of 50 people and give them a memorable experience! It was really hard not to invite everyone, but we kept it to close family and friends.
Also the alleyway at Airship37! It’s a big space that we wanted to utilize. We ended up making it into a representation of a street you might find in the New Orleans French Quarter; it looked beautiful!
Your guests had a fabulous time.. what do you think makes for a fantastic wedding guest experience ?
I think multiple items affect a wedding guest experience.
· Thinking outside the box and theming. We had one couple who was attending 12 weddings this year. We didn’t want to be cookie-cutter (e.g sit down dinner with dancing) and have the exact same format.
· A full day at a wedding is tiring. Guests arrived at 6pm with the ceremony starting at 6:30pm so we didn’t monopolize their entire day.
· Have the ceremony and the reception at the same venue or close together. We had the ceremony in the same place as the reception so there was no lag/travel time in between.
· Keeping the ceremony short and engaging. Our ceremony was 10 minutes, had a bit of humour and had everyone in tears at the end.
· Keep speeches to a minimum. From the beginning, we planned that my husband and I were the only ones to make speeches and we kept them to a minute each.
· People come from out of town, so make sure you have time to spend with them! We didn’t have a sit-down dinner, all of our food was passed and at stations, so we could be among our guests all night long, rather than stuck behind a head table.
· Adding personal touches and small details enhance the overall theme and people will notice and appreciate them.
· Interactive elements and entertainment. We had a themed photo booth that created instant hardcopy prints for guests to take home. We also had 3 cirque acts, beginning on the hour from 8-10pm, that had everyone mesmerised.
· And obviously an open bar!
Your wedding was elegant whimsical sophisticated and fun.. how did you manage all this?
We felt like the venue had all of these attributes to start and was a source of much inspiration itself. Because we decided to go ahead with such a raw space, it allowed for virtually any theme we wanted to dream up. We had our end goal in mind and stayed true to our vision throughout the planning process…
We also had an amazing group of people at the wedding that added to the atmosphere!
Was there any point in the process where you experienced an overwhelming sense of “Uh oh! I bit off more than I have time for? Or did you gauge the workflow?
Managing events for a living, I was prepared months in advance and it was a relaxing experience. I gauged the workflow, stuck to our plan and had all items finalized over a month before the wedding.
One item that did stress me out was the weather. Two weeks before the wedding I started checking the 14 day forecast to see what the weather would be like on our wedding day. As half our venue space was outside, that was the only item that had me stressed. As it coincidentally turned out, the whole week surrounding the wedding was the best weather of the entire summer, though I can’t take credit for that!
Other than your wedding what was your favourite event you designed?
For the final Harry Potter film, I created Hogwarts at The Old Mill in Toronto for a Warner Bros. Product showcase. Being a big Harry Potter fan myself, every detail was straight out of the movie! Visually, it was stunning and I made sure it had all the bells and whistles to leave guests totally amazed. For example, we had a talking sorting hat for guest check in, enchanted ceilings in the great hall, chocolate frogs and even Professor Trelawney telling fortunes, etc.
What is on your wishlist as your ultimate event you would like to do for a client?
I would love to design after parties for big festivals or events e.g. Academy Awards, Comic-Con International, movie premieres, etc. Beautiful and creative theming with a robust budget!
What is on your bookshelf or set of bookmarks on your computer as a source of inspiration?
I actually get a lot of inspiration from television and movies.
I am also on BizBash everyday and love getting creative ideas from Pinterest.
Berkeley catering was the caterer for the wedding.
Venison sliders with pickled okra topper, Cajun shrimp skewers, Mini Tourtières, Mini corn fritters, split pea soup shooters, Jambalaya, Gourmet popcorn (salted caramel, rosemary and plum port)
Southern pulled pork sandwiches, Poutine, Quebec cheese boards, Fruit platters, Oyster bar
Beignets, Sugar pies, Fleur de lis cookies, Cafe du Monde cafe au laits
Fried chicken and waffles
SOUTHERN OLD FASHIONED
Canadian Club Whiskey, Water, Brown Sugar Cube, Angostura Bitters, Orange Slice, Lemon Peel, Cherry
Zapp’s Potato Chips from New Orleans, LA, Sucre à la Crème from Ste. Julie, QC, Advil, Super-charged water, Thank you note
Thank you Darren and Joshua for sharing your incredible wedding!
Photo credit : Tal @ PartyPix.ca